life, motherhood, parenting

Sincerity and the splintering sort of pain

I’m beginning to believe you can’t get through life without having your heart broken at least a handful of times but not all heartbreaks are the romantic sort. Broken friendships can hurt just as much. I was reminded of this the other day, of a friendship I thought as solid as the ground I walk upon, that one day, was gone- without a trace or explanation. Years ago I wrote about the risk of trust:

When I decide to trust someone, it’s me putting my heart in my hands, cradling it carefully and placing it on the floor. They can turn and step upon it, they can pick it up and cradle it. It’s frightening to be this vulnerable.

Its the risk you take allowing someone into the deepest chambers of your trust. Sometimes the risk pays off, as my dear friends are testaments to, but other times you’re rewarded with splinters as someone walks right on it without looking back. While you can pull out the splinter, the thing with splinters? A small piece always remains.

Waleed and I had a play-date today with the lovely ‘Murgdan‘ and her beautiful son- who if its possible is even more precious in person. Not only was it nice to meet a nice down-to-earth mama, it was amazing to see the two babies interact, banging their cookies on the table, tugging each other’s shirts, hands, [and sometimes hair] and smiling at one another, with curiosity and without guile- simply sincerity- because as babies- they are the living embodiment of sincerity stripped of manipulations and pretense with no designs to hurt anyone. Unadulterated.

Children this young hold their hearts in their hands open to the world with no conception that someone can crush it- until it happens. As a former teacher of children too small to read, I know it starts young, and as his mother I’m terrified of the day it happens. Seeing the object of my splintered pain from the past, I looked at my son, grinning his toothless grin, I couldn’t help but silently hope: may you never be hurt by the changing winds of the hearts of others, and more importantly may you never ever be the cause of someone else’s splintering kind of pain.

12 thoughts on “Sincerity and the splintering sort of pain”

  1. I know how you feel Aisha…I trust easily, but have learned over time to only a select few access to my heart! We all hope that our children never live through the negatives we have lived through, but I guess that's impractical. I hope our kids have the courage to trust, to get their trust broken, learn from it and become better human beings.


  2. I know the feeling. I look at Henry and want to keep him from all the pain in the world, even though that is, of course, not possible.

    On a cheerier note – I'm so jealous you got a play date with Murgdan! And glad to hear she's fun in person, since I've always enjoyed her writing.

    Wish I lived a thousand miles or so south…


  3. Anon, I guess it is- but better to know now than years later when one is even more invested I guess.

    C- your'e right- its part of living that we're going to have all sorts of experiences and feel hurt, its just so hard as a parent to know you will have to stand by and watch it happen.

    Taqueer, thanks for relating.

    Susan, likewise, wish I lived a few thous north, or vice versa! that would be one rocking play group! 🙂

    A, thanks 🙂 Insh'Allah


  4. When I think about my closest friends, they are friendships that I made as a child before the world got so complicated and I had learned that vulnerability may lead to injury. I left college with several close friends, but have lost touch with all but one. I left law school with many acquaintances, but not a good, good friend among them. Since law school, I've made several friends who I get together with socially, but none I would give my heart to.

    This is beautifully written, by the way.


  5. Thanks Raising, you are right, close friendships for me are the same way, the older I get the less common of an occurrence it is.

    Anon- for sure- and yes that is more painful than anything.


  6. Yes Yes and Yes. But I'm still not so sure about the manipulation part 😉 I have this sneaking feeling I'm being manipulated daily by this little cement block of mine. I had a wonderful time and look forward to tackling some better deals with you during open mall hours…and confess that I'm secretly hoping for a home play date eventually so I can try the chai you so deliciously described a few weeks ago.


  7. I'm so sorry this happened to you. Can you post again about moving forward if you're able? This happened to me this week. It's not just me that is hurt, but my children, as she was family to us and her child was my kids' most loved and dearest friend.


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